#13 July 16th, 2018: Fairy Tale, but with Interruptions #1yearagotodayCW

On July 16th, Watts is showing signs of being completely smitten. He’s taking photos of flowers and Googling Dave Bunk Minerals possibly to buy Kessinger a gift. He’s also taken it upon himself to fix Kessinger’s Toyota. What this shows is he’s become not only fixated on Kessinger, he’s already embarking on a new life and lifestyle with her.

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He’s able to do this because of the unprecedented space Shan’ann gives him – 5 whole weeks.

The series of intermittent  phone calls between Watts and his wife in the afternoon, lasting almost 33 minutes, looks to be argumentative, again. Bear in mind this is only the first week after Nut Gate, and Nut Gate remained a serious issue even when Watts finally traveled to see his folks in North Carolina a few weeks later, in early August.

While we have the impression that Watts wanted a new life with Kessinger, and that’s why he murdered his family, in reality he was already in the new life to a large extent before the crime. The crime was committed to allow him to stay in that life, for the status quo to continue.

Each time Shan’ann called him she painfully interrupted his fairy tale, reminding him that eventually he would have to make a choice between one life and another, one face and another. This is how and where the psychology of premeditation takes root – maybe not consciously at first, but through many small triggers, desires, thoughts and wishes. And over time someone emerges as a preferred choice, and someone else as an increasing threat to that perfect present, that fantasized Happily Ever After.

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10 thoughts on “#13 July 16th, 2018: Fairy Tale, but with Interruptions #1yearagotodayCW

  1. The lyrics to “Chains”, performed by the Beatles written by songwriters Gerry Coffin and Carole King, fit Watts situation perfectly.


  2. This is the first time I’m seeing things this way: he didn’t kill them in order to start a new life- he already was living the new life and killed them to keep things that way. Brilliant, Nick.


    • You know Sylvester, as much as I have pored over this case (and believe me, I feel I have a PhD in Wattsology at this point), I just had never flipped the switch until reading this post. There is still so much insight to be had. I am grateful for this website (for Nick and commenters) to help us break it all down.


  3. This daily summary of what happened one year ago is insightful and fascinating. It has really put things into perspective and added context to that most sad and chaotic of times for the Watts family. Nice job!


  4. Yep, couldn’t stand the thought of her coming back and interrupting what had become his new life. Makes you wonder how early the plan to kill them hatched. The avoiding of phone calls, texts etc in the couple of weeks before she came back may not have been just down to being out of love/like/lust and in love/lust elsewhere. There may have been a bit of cognitive dissonance around having to have ‘normal’ conversations with someone who in your head is dead or about to be….because you’ve decided that’s the solution. Could have decided at least a couple of weeks before.

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  5. I was wondering too just when the real fully formulated thought was to kill the family – all of them. Not while he was in la la land I don’t think, enjoying “living the life of a bachelor.” I thought it could be July 4, when he had the spat with NK, was told to go home, then asked to come back but a spat doesn’t spawn thoughts of annihilation, just trying to fix things. Clearly once he sets foot in NC he is distracted, surly and disconnected so my guess is just before that he has a fully germinated thought about it. It would be contingent on her trip to Arizona though. One false move, her deciding not to go, would put a kink in the plan. Then again it could be after they returned home from NC. It’s one thing to be rid of your wife (who he could say just ran off and left the kids and him), it’s another thing to kill them all. His first thought may have been to just kill his wife. What made him consider and plan to kill all three. Some might say to have a clean slate but I don’t know. He really stepped into evil territory taking all three. Might have to do with he couldn’t leave two eye or ear witnesses. What was he going to do with two children Monday morning. It’s possible of course that the two children were alive while he was loading Shan’ann up in the truck. But that’s not consistent with the “Rain Man’s” logic. Watts planned, he had an eye for details, if he knew he was going to kill Shan’ann he also would know to plan for every foreseeable moment after that – and before that.


    • He seemed to be coming to terms with what he intended to do even prior to the week spent with his family in North Carolina. If he had any second thoughts, Nut Gate helped reinforce the sense of a permanent schism between him and *them*.


    • No, I think it started with the desire to stop/end the pregnancy. If Shan’ann didn’t fall pregnant I suspect she would have been more open to a divorce.


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